A Global Retailer Rekindles Innovation in Its Culture

A very successful global retailer moves toward its goal to develop and reincorporate innovation as a core capability in the organization’s culture.


Over its 30-year history, this retailer grew rapidly to more than $25 Billion in annual revenue, 180,000 employees and more than 3,000 stores worldwide. In spite of this success, executives held a growing concern about stagnation in the organization’s innovative capabilities. Interaction Associates (IA) was retained to lead an initiative to rekindle this competency and instill it sustainably in the culture.

How Interaction Associates Helped

IA began by interpreting internal employee survey data and recommending focal areas for change initiatives. These included providing employees with brainstorming skills and opportunities, increasing transparency into ideas and initiatives across the company, and increasing senior leadership visibility and support for innovative efforts. IA launched a series of ½-day sessions to introduce leaders from across the business to the core concepts of Design Thinking as a repeatable, manageable approach for generating and implementing novel ideas. In particular, these sessions focused on effective ideation sessions. IA also worked with senior leadership teams to identify high leverage opportunities for innovation.

Return on Involvement

Employees across the organization are both empowered and energized to contribute to organic growth through innovation. Innovation is becoming a more regular tool in employees’ problem-solving tool kits. The President and CEO regularly highlights innovation and the potential it holds for the business. The Chief Operating Officer hosts regular “Food for Thought” brainstorming sessions, presenting topics for ideation sessions open to all employees. From these sessions have come hundreds of ideas, and many of these are currently in implementation. Leadership teams have begun applying innovative practices to business process improvements and employee retention initiatives. In 2014, the organization will expand its efforts by building deep innovation capability among select champions who will serve as coaches and internal “innovation experts,” capable of supporting multiple innovation projects across the business.






Project at a Glance

Interaction Associates provided change consulting, along with Design Thinking workshops, to assist this global retailer to increase and enable innovation.